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10 May 2018, 02:11 | Melanie Burgess
One of US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief arguments against the Iran nuclear deal was that it would trigger an atomic weapons race in the Middle East in the years preceding the deal's expiry.
Asked if Riyadh would "build a bomb itself" if Tehran does so, Jubeir said: 'If Iran acquires nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same'.
Iran re-emerged as a major oil exporter in 2016 after worldwide sanctions against it were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
"As long as Iran was constrained and closely inspected, the Saudis could afford to put off their nuclear ambitions", Mark Fitzpatrick, executive director of the American branch of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said on Tuesday.
The agreement arranged for the easing of global economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for sharp reductions in its nuclear enrichment capabilities and allowing regular worldwide Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to all facilities. "Saudi Arabia will not in any way act independently of its partners". It is in talks with the United States to secure an atomic deal that could pave the way for the Saudi regime to enrich uranium.
Observers warn that Riyadh insistence on enriching uranium on its own means it seeks to keep a nuclear weapons option open.
Indian refiners said on Wednesday they were in no hurry to replace Iranian oil with alternatives, counting on the fact that many Western countries have so far declined to join the United States in pulling out of a nuclear deal with Tehran.
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While Trump's decision has pleased allies in Israel and Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, it pits the USA against its closest European allies, leaves the future of Tehran's nuclear ambitions in question and raises the prospects of a regional arms race.
USA oil prices crashed through the $US70-a-barrel mark for the first time since late 2014, foreshadowing costlier petrol and consumer goods.
The agreement is due to expire at the end of 2018.Saudi Arabia, the world´s largest oil exporter and top OPEC producer, is concerned about any negative impact from the possible supply shortage on oil-consuming countries, the OPEC source said.
In any case, oil sanctions will kick in in about six months, by which time most Indian refiners "may have consumed most of their Iranian volumes", Ramachandran said.
Benchmark US crude is up US74¢, more than one per cent, to $US70.46 a barrel on the futures market in NY.
For all these reasons, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members will come under intense pressure to raise their output to make up for any loss of Iranian barrels. While the deal succeeded in getting 97 percent of Iran's nuclear material out of the country, Iran's conservatives and its military recoiled at the idea of cooperating on any projects with the West.
According to the same fact-checking website, although Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented a trove of documents, they did not add any new information - much of what he had offered was not news for the worldwide community.
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